From the short story «The Lottery» to the masterworks The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson’s popular, often bestselling works experimented with popular generic forms (melodrama, folktale, horror, the Gothic, and the Weird) to create a uniquely apocalyptic vision of America and its contradictions.
With a Foreword by award-winning Jackson biographer Ruth Franklin, this collection features comprehensive critical engagement with Jackson’s works, including those that have received less scholarly attention. Among these are the novels The Road Through the Wall, The Bird’s Nest, and Hangsaman, as well as Jackson’s historical study, The Witchcraft of Salem Village. Also included are essays on Jackson’s darkly humorous collections Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons, on Stephen King’s «literary friendship» with Jackson, on the little-known film adaptations Lizzie (1957) and Hosszú Alkony (Long Twilight) (1997), and the first-ever extended analysis devoted to Jackson’s unpublished satirical cartoon sketches.
The collection’s five sections focus on Jackson’s style, key themes, and influence; her politics and poetics of space; her treatment of the «monstrous» mother and monstrousness of motherhood; her representations of outsiders and minorities; and moving-image adaptations of her work.